Should You Give a Pet a Home for the Holidays?

People talk about going home for the holidays, but it's often the traditions of the holidays that create a home wherever you are. In this eight-part series, RE/MAX is taking a look at things that make a house a home and how each one can add to your seasonal celebration.

Are you thinking about bringing home a furry family member this holiday season? Make sure you have the time, energy and space to give to a pet before deciding to adopt. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Time
From taking your dog out for walks to ensuring you're home to feed and spend time with your furry one, a pet can require a lot of time and commitment. Make sure your work schedule and social commitments allow you to be home with your pets to take care of them. If you don't have time during the day, consider hiring a dog walker or having a fenced-in backyard and a doggie door so you can easily let your dog run around outside.

2. Cost
Speaking of dog walkers, those daily visits can add up fast. Run some numbers and make sure you're ready for all the costs associated with pet ownership. From buying food and cat toys or signing your pup up for training, pets can be expensive. In fact, owning a dog can cost an average of nearly $900 per year. Make sure you have enough funds to financially support your pet by creating a monthly budget and setting aside some cash in case you have to make an emergency vet visit.

3. A furver home means forever
Adopting a pet can add a lot of happiness, fun and joy to your life. Many people consider pets part of the family, and although having a pet can be a lot of work, there's nothing like being welcomed home by a wagging tail or furry companion.

When you're ready, sites like Petfinder or The Shelter Project (sponsored in part by The Humane Society of the United States) can help you search locally for the perfect adoptable pet for you. If now isn't the ideal time, don't worry, there are plenty of ways to help the 7.6 million animals cared for at the 13,600 shelters across the country. You may consider:

Donating Supplies
Most shelters keep wish lists on their websites with items they need. Many also maintain Amazon Wish Lists, letting you give cartons of kitty litter or boxes of biscuits with just a few clicks. You can also donate your pet's old supplies. Shelters are usually happy to accept gently used toys, leashes, collars, beds and bowls.

Sharing the love
"Like" your shelter's Facebook page and share adoption profiles and news about fundraisers on your feed. The more eyes on the pets, the more likely they are to find loving homes.

Shopping strategically
Amazon.com will donate 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to the nonprofit you specify at smile.amazon.com. That means you can finish your Christmas shopping while supporting your local shelter!

Waiting to bring home a pet until you have more space? Work with an experienced agent to find the right place for you. Start your search here.

More from our Centerpiece series:

Day 6 - Backyard: The Ultimate Snow Day Checklist

Day 7 - Neighbors: 5 Tips for a Neighborhood Game Night

Day 8 - Traditions: 4 Ways to Preserve Family Holiday Traditions

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